- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2005

At Arts for the Aging’s annual fundraiser on Wednesday night, event chairwoman Julia Hopping summed up the reason for the party’s success: “You can’t say no to Lolo.”

Lolo, as everyone on the capital’s high-end, diplomatic-circuit crowd knows, is Lolo Sarnoff, the 89-year-old sculptor and philanthropist who founded AFTA in 1988 to provide arts workshops for physically and psychologically impaired seniors. She started by teaching two classes a month herself, and now, with the help of about 50 professional artists, her organization provides 85 programs in more than 50 senior centers and nursing homes throughout the area.

When Mrs. Sarnoff graciously thanked the crowd at British Ambassador Sir David Manning’s residence, she noted that AFTA provides a valuable boost to older people, who, she said, “don’t get really happy, but they do get happier” with artistic involvement. “Getting old is really not much fun,” she added, “and I should know.”

Organizers expected to raise $150,000, with the help of $20,000 from GlaxoSmithKline and 300 supporters, who included Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sen. Thad Cochran, former Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman Jr., Esther Coopersmith, Carol and Climis Lascaris and Aniko Gaal Schott. Guests perused silent-auction offerings, which consisted of the typical jewelry and opera tickets along with a few less popular items. (The Botox and cellulite-reduction treatments, for instance, didn’t seem to be enticing anyone in the well-coifed crowd toward a public bid.) Nor was anyone in the not-so-junior crowd admitting to any interest in the raffle prize: $5,000 worth of cosmetic surgery.

“I don’t want it,” the ever-elegant 95-year-old Gertrude d’Amecourt declared to a friend. “If I do win, I’ll give it away.”

Christina Ianzito

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